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The Lever of RichesTechnological Creativity and Economic Progress$
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Joel Mokyr

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780195074772

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195074772.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 August 2021

Classical Antiquity

Classical Antiquity

(p.19) Chapter Two Classical Antiquity
The Lever of Riches

Joel Mokyr

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses some significant technological breakthroughs that were made during classical times. It observes that some of the important achievements of classical technology were in those aspects of technology that were nonphysical in nature: coinage, alphabetization, stenography, and geometry were part of the information-processing sphere rather than the physical production sphere of the economy. The chapter notes that even when their achievements were in the physical sphere, they were mostly in construction and architecture, rather than in mechanical devices. It points out that what technological progress there was in the classical world, especially in Roman times, served the public, rather than the private sector. The chapter further notes that another area in which technical ingenuity improved efficiency in the public sector was in the construction of war machines, and that Greek and Roman military technology provides one of the few areas of successful collaboration between scientists and technology.

Keywords:   technological breakthroughs, classical technology, construction, architecture, mechanical devices, information-processing sphere, economy, Roman times, war machines, military technology

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